The Brooklyn Nets' early exit from the playoffs was a major disappointment for the entire organization, but the team is looking to put that in the rearview mirror and bounce back in 2022-23. Kyrie Irving's future with the team has come under question of late, however, due to his lack of availability throughout the regular season. Well, the latest inklings suggest Irving's future with the Nets could largely impact that of Kevin Durant's, too.
According to Kristian Winfield of NY Daily News, if the Nets don't extend Irving's contract and he leaves as a free agent in the summer, it could leave Brooklyn in a very unfavorable position:
If Kyrie Irving leaves the Nets this offseason, the beginning of the end could be near for Brooklyn.
That’s a first-round exit at best – if Durant stays to see it, and according to multiple sources, Durant and the Nets front office have not spoken since they were swept out of the first round.
In layman’s terms, if Irving leaves the Nets, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Durant becomes frustrated with the organization’s ability to put championship pieces around him. They failed to do so at the beginning of last season, with none of their top offseason acquisitions – James Johnson, DeAndre Bembry or Jevon Carter – finishing the year in Brooklyn.
Effectively, the Nets would not have the cap space to sign another star player if Irving were to leave in free agency, which would leave them with a less-than-inspiring core of Durant and Ben Simmons, who is a complete question mark at this point. The remaining roster spots would be made up of mostly role players alongside Durant and Simmons, which wouldn't bode well for their chances at staging a championship run.
While Durant has been vocally committed to sticking in Brooklyn for the long haul, the Irving contract situation could have major implications on whether or not he truly decides to stick around, especially if things start to fall apart.